Nasa’s Juno spacecraft and LEGO figurines set to reach Jupiter on July 4
Nasa’s spacecraft Juno is set to reach Jupiter on July 4 after a five year journey — along with three Lego figurines it’s carrying on board.
Juno has already travelled more than 1.74 billion miles since it was launched on August 5, 2011.
It will enter Jupiter’s orbit at 8.35pm PDT on Independence Day.
The spacecraft is one of Nasa’s New Frontiers missions and is being sent to Jupiter to study various things including its gravity, magnetosphere and the composition of its atmosphere.
It’s hoped the information it collects will help us understand more about how it was formed and changed over time — and help increase our understanding of the solar system in general.
As well as all the scientific equipment on board, there are also three LEGO figurines — one of Roman god Jupiter, another of his wife Juno and a third of astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei, who made a string of important discoveries about Jupiter. His figurine is carrying a model of Jupiter and a telescope.
The figures were included to help inspire kids about the fields of science, technology, mathematics and engineering.
Juno is currently travelling at around 60,000mph relative to Earth and 13,000mph relative to Jupiter.
Once it arrives it will orbit the planet for 20 months, flying around the planet 37 times before falling into the planet as its mission ends in February 2018.
It will use solar power to keep itself running while there, and contains large solar panels so it can absorb the sun’s energy, as Jupiter receives 25 per cent less sunlight than earth.
Each orbit will see the spacecraft come within 3,100 miles of Jupiter’s furthest-out clouds — keeping out of a belt of harmful radiation which surrounds the planet’s equator.